Genetic detection of Dobrava-Belgrade hantavirus in the edible dormouse (Glis glis) in central Serbia
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Hantaviruses are endemic in the Balkans, particularly in Serbia, where sporadic cases and/or outbreaks of hantaviral human disease have been reported repeatedly, and evidenced serologically. Here, we present genetic detection of Dobrava-Belgrade virus (DOBV) hantaviral sequences in wild rodents trapped in central Serbia. All the animals were pre-screened serologically by indirect immunofluorescence (IF) test and only those with a positive finding of hantaviral antigens were further tested by polymerase chain reaction. Of the total of 104 trapped animals, 20 were found to be IF positive and of those three were positive for hantaviral RNA: one Microtus arvalis for Tula virus, and one each of Apodemus agrarius and Glis glis for DOBV. Phylogenetic analysis of the obtained sequences implies putative DOBV spillover infection of A. agrarius and G. glis from Apodemus flavicollis. However, future investigations should help to identify the most common natural host and geographical distribution of DOBV in its reservoir hosts in Serbia.